Wander amongst ancient old trees and ancestral traditions in the Natural Park Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche
With over 1000 km of footpaths, the Natural Park Park Sierra de Aracena y Picos de Aroche has converted into one of the main hiking destinations in the south of Spain. This protected area is characterized by its extensive woodland, high rainfall, a Mediterranean climate, and a network of footpaths connecting the 28 villages of the territory.
Numerous footpaths cross the majestic “dehesas”, the native holm and cork woodland pastures so predominant in this area, providing a magnificent setting to walk amongst the regions’ star, the pure-bred Iberian pig. The Jamón Iberico de Bellota, the delicious high-quality product is produced here and is protected under the Denomination of Protected Origin Jabugo.
In Spring, the “dehesa” is an explosion of colour, with the many native species that can be found in the natural park. Orchids, grasses, medicinal plants and those frequently used in the local gastronomy intermingle between ancient holm and cork oaks and century old chestnut trees which are also beginning to blossom. Spring is also a time for mushrooms, the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche is one of the best mushroom areas in Spain with over 600 species to be found in the 186,827 hectares of protected park
In summer walkers can be surprised to see ancestral traditions in this territory, that has been inhabited since the Neolithic times, continue such as cork being harvested by expert teams of extractors where this valuable commodity is removed from the cork oak (quercus suber) by hand and carried to a more accessible area by mules or the plentiful allotments that provide fruit and vegetables to be preserved for the winter months.
The fauna and flora of this natural park, together with the traditional recipes from the local mountain cuisine offer a varied and tasty gastronomy, a delight for any for hiker. Bars and restaurants abound in the villages where you can sample the most delicious delicacies.
In times gone by communication between the villages was on foot or by mule along trails that linked all the villages together. These trails have now become the network of footpaths we use today for pleasure as we continue to walk between the villages avoiding the asphalt and trace our ancestors footprints throughout the whole of this area, located in the north west corner of Andalucia.
Trails through centuries-old trees, traditions and customs handed down through the generations, white villages scattered between the mountains are all part of this special area waiting to be discovered by the walker as he hikes around over the 1,000 kilometers of trails in the Sierra de Aracena and Picos de Aroche Natural Park.
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